Photo/Video by Joachim Guay
By Matthew Brooks
Chipping is a part of the game where amateurs commonly struggle. The reason for all those fat and thin shots? It’s mostly due to poor body sequence and a lack of lower body stability.
So how do we remedy this? There’s a big hint every time you watch tour golf on TV and notice how fit and strong the world’s best players look today. They aren’t just hitting the gym to get stronger and more powerful. When it comes to chipping, we don’t want power and speed, rather a soft touch and control to help minimise the chances of hitting duff shots.
The world’s best are thus also in the gym to help improve mobility and stability, which in turn will help them with the shorter, more delicate shots. One of the screening assessments we undertake at Dubai Creek to help us best understand how your body moves and how it can cause swing faults when chipping is called the “Torso rotation”. This tells a qualified TPI instructor like myself whether you can separate your upper body from your lower body, while keeping the lower body stable, vital to perform the chipping sequence correctly.
In golf set-up, with your arms crossed over your chest, try rotating your torso while keeping your lower body still and stable. It’s very important to focus on quality rather than quantity with this movement. The majority of amateurs fail this test with a stability issue. Fret not. Here are two exercises that can help you and your chipping technique.
1. Single leg balance in golf posture, with torso turns (Beginner, no equipment). Get into golf posture, with your arms crossed over your chest. Now bend one leg from the knee off the ground. Rotate the torso while holding golf posture and keeping the lower body still.
2. Seated cable torso turns on an exercise ball. (Intermediate, cable machine). Sit on an exercise ball and set the cable machine to chest height when seated. Grip onto the handle with the outside hand first and have a wide base with your stance. Extend the arms out in front of you, forming a triangle with your shoulders and arms. Keeping this shape, rotate the torso while keeping the lower body stable on the ball.
Chipping is very different to the full swing and while this is only one area to touch on to help with your chipping, it is an important step to lower scores.
Matthew Brookes is a new PGA teaching professional and golf-specific fitness trainer at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s Peter Cowen Academy Dubai.